The competition for earned media is becoming increasingly fierce for technology brands in the Chinese market. With an influx of stories in journalists’ inboxes and limited attention from local customers, tech and b2b brands need to invest in content marketing to increase online exposure and reinforce their messages.
One way to increase exposure and foster brand awareness is by including content marketing in your strategy. Content marketing can help focus your communications, differentiate you from competitors, and elevate your reputation at a much lower cost than paid marketing tactics, but only if you do it correctly.
In this detailed article, we’ll cover insights into:
How to Do Content Marketing in China?
While the basics of content marketing remain the same regardless of location, there are some key considerations to keep in mind when targeting China.
First, it’s worth considering that the Chinese market is highly fragmented, with many regional and local players. As a result, a one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to be successful. Instead, content needs to be tailored to specific regions and demographics of your target audience.
Additionally, Chinese customers are often more relationship-focused than their Western counterparts, and they place a high value on trusted recommendations. As such, content that establishes thought leadership or showcases customer testimonials can be particularly effective.
Finally, you’ll have to consider that the Chinese government exercises significant control over the country's media landscape. As a result, content marketers need to be mindful of censorship concerns and avoid sensitive topics.
By keeping these considerations in mind, content marketers then need to develop an effective content marketing strategy for reaching China's vast and diverse population.
What Are the Best Content Marketing Platforms in China?
Short Video & Livestream Platforms
Short video platforms are best for driving brand awareness. Use them to increase your brand exposure among a wider range of audiences.
Known as TikTok in the west, Douyin is a popular short video platform owned by tech giant ByteDance.
Douyin started as a music video platform and is now a full-fledged content marketing channel that attracts 719 million users every month. Douyin is also the most popular livestream app in China: Around 70% of livestream users are on the platform, and over 80% of its users watch livestream content.
The reason for using Douyin is apparent — its large and continuously growing user base. Users stay on this platform for both entertainment and information consumption. And a mix of promoted content and the algorithm can make your videos gain significant exposure in a short period of time, giving your brand an immediate brand awareness boost.
WeChat Channel （微信视频号）
WeChat Channel is a short video and livestream channel launched by WeChat within its own ecosystem. It shares the same closed-ecosystem characteristic as WeChat but offers another route to reach a broader audience through network-based content recommendations. So the more your WeChat friends see and like a video on the platform, the more likely you are to see that video on your Channel feed, and so as your other WeChat friends.
This connection-based algorithm makes WeChat Channel a platform suited for brands that rely on account-based marketing and have a local team. By encouraging your local account or sales team to share these videos, you increase your odds of having customers see the content.
WeChat Channel videos can be shared through chat windows, WeChat article posts, or WeChat Moments. Users can also directly access the channel through your WeChat Official Account.
Short videos that are both entertaining and educational with viral features are the best-suited content format for the two short video platforms. One caveat is that the video production cost for this type of content could be more expensive than others, and it also relies on your available resources.
Video platforms are suitable for boosting your brand awareness through visually attractive video content. Use these platforms for hosting your webinars and educational content for additional traffic.
Bilibili is a popular video content marketing platform in China that offers users a wide range of videos, from TV shows to movies and animations.
What makes Bilibili stand out is its user-generated content (influencer content), which accounts for 91% of videos on this platform; its active and friendly user community; and its ability to target younger demographics.
Bilibili also offers a wide range of features that encourage user engagement, such as comments on videos and sharing videos. Bilibili is often used as a video search platform where people find product reviews and tutorials. Use it to reach out to content creators for your brand campaigns or as a video-hosting channel.
Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms are ideal for educating and informing your followers. Use them as a powerful tool to drive awareness and nurture your potential customers and stakeholders with high-quality content.
WeChat Official Account（微信公众号）
WeChat Official Account is a content marketing platform within the WeChat app that enables businesses to connect with their customers and followers. It is also the most popular platform for content marketing used by almost every B2B and B2C marketer to reach their Chinese audiences.
WeChat Official Accounts provide various features and tools businesses can use to share content, including text, images, videos, and articles. WeChat Official Accounts also offer the ability to interact with customers and followers through comments and messages.
In addition, WeChat Official Accounts allow businesses to track the performance of their content through analytics. It is an essential tool for businesses that want to connect with their customers and gain followers in China.
Similar to Quora in the west, Zhihu is the most popular social question-and-answer website in China, with nearly 400 million monthly active users.
A key feature that sets Zhihu apart from other social media platforms is its focus on content and knowledge sharing. Zhihu’s user base is highly educated and affluent, making it an attractive platform for B2B & tech companies targeting business professionals.
Zhihu has a high reach and it’s very SEO friendly. Zhihu allows businesses to include links in their answers, which can lead to website traffic. In addition, Zhihu questions often appear in top search results on Baidu, so businesses that provide helpful answers can get additional SEO benefits.
Weibo is known as the equivalent of Twitter in China. The platform attracts 500 million active users daily, who visit Weibo to stay informed about the latest news and participate in discussions.
Weibo offers brands a way to connect with potential customers through content marketing. Similar to Twitter, the content on this platform is short and informative. And in order to gain exposure and followers on this platform, most companies need a combination of paid and organic content marketing tactics, along with an effective hashtag strategy. However, as more brands find diminishing returns from Weibo, we’d only recommend Weibo as a supplementary platform to WeChat for increased exposure.
The best content formats vary for each social media channel. Long-form educational blog posts are best suited for WeChat Official Account. High-quality answers that have a short to medium length are best suited for Zhihu. And short yet informative posts with attractive visuals are more favored by Weibo.
Content Publishing Platforms
Content publishing platforms are effective in improving search engine results. Use them to publish SEO blogs that promote your brand and product.
Toutiao is the most popular content publishing platform launched by the news app Jinri Toutiao (今日头条).
Toutiao is a recommendation-based engine content platform built on data mining technology. It recommends valuable and personalized content for users based on their interests and browsing history. Both verified business accounts and personal accounts can publish content on this platform following its content publishing rules.
Baijia is another popular self-publishing news platform owned by the search engine giant Baidu. Because it's developed by Baidu, content published on this platform enjoys a high search engine ranking. The content published on Baijia will be visible both on the Baidu search engine results and on its mobile app when people search for specific long- or short-tail keywords.
Sohu started out as a news portal website similar to Yahoo. Following the digital transformation of traditional news media, it launched its own self-publishing content platform, 搜狐号. Any verified business or personal account can publish on Sohu following the platform’s compliance. The content will be automatically distributed to the Sohu website (including the mobile site) and the Sohu news app.
Self-publishing platforms are best suited for SEO blogs that target specific keywords. By publishing articles on industry subjects, you can effectively reach the Chinese audience, showcase your expertise, and promote your product among users searching for specific answers to a business problem.
Leveraging Content as A Power Source for Your Communications in China
To build an effective content marketing strategy, start with setting your goal & KPIs. What do you want to accomplish? Is it mainly building awareness, increasing conversions, or developing your SEO?
Next, decide what platforms to create content for based on your goal. You clearly don’t have to be on all of these platforms. In fact, trying to target every platform can be highly inefficient. Instead, evaluate each platform’s user demographics, assess your budget and study whether there are existing global assets you can leverage to determine the right mix that makes sense for your business.
Then, measure your content marketing efforts by tracking your performance, and continue to test different types of content and topics to improve your results.
Finally, it's key to understand that each platform imposes different content publishing rules, so make sure you have the right knowledge or work with an experienced content marketing agency to implement your content marketing strategy in China.
Contact us now to learn about our content marketing services in China.